Starring: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta
Braschi, Mino Bellei, Carlo
Guiffre, and Peppe Barra
Genre: Science Fiction/Fantasy
Audience: All ages
Runtime: 108 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films/Buena Vista
Director: Roberto Benigni
Executive Producer: Mario Cotone
Producer: Nicoletta Braschi
Writer: Vincenzo Cerami and Roberto
Address Comments To:Bob and Harvey Weinstein
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 & (212) 941-3800
Fax: (212) 941-3846
PINOCCHIO stars Benigni as the mischievous, inquisitive wooden puppet, who wants, more than anything, to be a real boy. Pinocchio comes into the world as a rambunctious piece of pinewood that almost seems possessed. The wood lands on the door of poor wood-carver Geppetto, who carves the wood into a puppet. Geppetto names the puppet Pinocchio.
Immediately, Pinocchio refuses to mind Geppetto and goes out into the streets, causing plenty of mischief as he goes. The police arrest Geppetto to make him pay for the damages Pinocchio has caused. Pinocchio finally returns to an empty house, where he encounters a nagging cricket who tries to get Pinocchio to behave. Pinocchio won’t listen, however, and tries to squash the annoying bug.
The Blue Fairy decides to take matters into her own hands. After a cat and a fox take advantage of Pinocchio, she tries to teach him to follow the narrow path of righteousness and common sense. Eventually, her efforts are rewarded, but not before Pinocchio gets into a whole lot more trouble, including going to jail, being turned into a donkey and getting swallowed by a whale.
PINOCCHIO is photographed wonderfully by Benigni and Dante Spinotti, the director of photography. The movie astounds the eye with its vibrant colors and beautiful costumes, sets and scenery. The story, however, fails to create much sympathy for the bereaved Geppetto, the patient and forgiving Blue Fairy or the rambunctious Pinocchio. Pinocchio thinks the cricket is annoying, but Pinocchio is the one who may annoy viewers the most. The dubbing into English does not help. Benigni portrays Pinocchio as a petulant child who hurts the people who love him from the very beginning. Only later, when the police accuse Pinocchio for a crime he didn’t commit, does the movie manage to create sympathy for the injustices afflicting him.
PINOCCHIO reflects the moral qualities that have made this story one of the most beloved of all fairy tales. It rebukes lying, laziness and rebellion and extols hard work and obeying one’s parental figures. The movie could have strengthened the redemptive, Christian aspects to the story, however. Also, the movie’s worldview is slightly nominalistic, suggesting that lesser supernatural beings, people and magical puppets can manipulate reality.
PINOCCHIO is photographed wonderfully. The movie astounds the eye with its vibrant colors and beautiful costumes, sets and scenery. The story, however, fails to create much sympathy for the characters until it’s too late. Though plenty of moral lessons are taught, the movie’s worldview is slightly nominalistic, suggesting that lesser supernatural beings, people and magical puppets can manipulate reality.